Monday, October 24, 2016

Review of Journaling Power by Mari L. McCarthy and a Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming Mari L. McCarthy, Chief Inspiration Officer for the journaling community, Create Write Now. Journaling can be a powerful tool, and if you are on the fence about trying it, I encourage you to check out Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live, a great self-help memoir by Mari L. McCarthy. I promise you'll be inspired by her story of how journaling helped her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Mari is currently on tour with WOW! Blog Tours, and I'm offering a giveaway of one print copy of this book to a U.S resident so see below for details!

About the Book: 
Journaling Power teaches you how to put the ultimate self-healing tool right at your fingertips--journaling. Through Mari L. McCarthy's moving personal story, you'll discover how pen-to-paper journaling leads to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You'll also learn that numerous medical studies prove journaling literally unleashes a healing agent that empowers your life in ways you've never imagined. 

About Mari:
Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Power Guide and founder of Her blog provides journaling for transformation and healthy living ideas, information and inspiration for keeping a daily pen-to-page Journaling for the Health of It™ Practice. You can also download the FREE e-book (, How to use Your Journal to Cure Writer's Block Now. More life-changing e-books can be found in Mari's Personal Transformation Journaling Library and in CreateWriteNow’s store ( )  
Find out more about the author by visiting her online: 





My Review: 
I’ve journaled on and off over the years, but have only recently realized that the powers of therapeutic journaling can extend to many different areas of our lives. While I knew a little bit of Mari’s background with multiple sclerosis before reading Journaling Power, the whole picture of how she tackled her symptoms through journaling is fascinating.

She writes: "Pen-to-paper journaling solidifies the link between mind and body in many ways. It enables us to discover that we really live in our whole bodies, including our physical and figurative hearts, as well as in our heads."

Mari’s story of writing to help heal her body (she eventually was able to stop taking a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medications) is inspirational. On her journey, she also reconnected with her creative side and began pursuing dreams she never thought before possible, even starting up a business that enables her to be prosperous and fulfilled in many different walks of life. I found Journaling Power to be the perfect mix of memoir, testimonials on the benefits of therapeutic writing from journalers Mari has worked with in the Create Write Now community, and medical studies that examine the use of journaling with patients.

By combining all these elements into one book, Mari skillfully weaves a convincing argument on how anyone struggling with time management, unresolved emotions, health issues, blocked creativity and more should give this type of writing a try. She also sprinkles different journaling prompts throughout each chapter to help get you started. I finished the book eager to get my journal and pen back out and work on my own productivity issues in the hopes of getting my creative writing career back on track. I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for more answers in their lives. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a writer—according to Mari, we are ALL writers!

Paperback: 146 Pages
Genre: Self-Help/Memoir
Publisher: Hasmark Publishing; 1 edition (September 12, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1988071216 ISBN-13: 978-1988071213

Book Trailer:

Other Thoughts:
I've tried Morning Pages (where you write three pages longhand each day to start out your day) but haven't myself consistently sticking with them. I got excited when I read about an alternative to Morning Pages, what Mari McCarthy calls Night Notes. Experts have found that people who struggle with insomnia often do so because they their brains haven't finished processing their emotions and worries of the day. She recommends using Night Notes (writing three or more pages in the hour before bedtime) as a way to unwind. While I typically sleep pretty well, I find myself having one or two nights a month where I lie awake in bed at night worrying about work deadlines, things going on in our family's lives, or household finances. I decided to start trying Night Notes to see if I could settle into a more relaxed sleep at night. Mari provides some journaling prompts in case you are having trouble getting started, but I found my pen taking off across the page pretty quickly on its own. I write about the stresses of juggling work with being a taxi service to my kids, appointments I need to schedule, movies I've seen, creative projects I'm working on, and bills that have been hanging over my head. I've found that I haven't had one of those "insomnia" nights ever since I started, so while it may seem like I'm writing about whiny, petty issues in these nighttime journaling sessions, I do believe they are helping.

Want the chance to win your own copy of Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live? Enter the Rafflecopter form below. I'll choose a winner on Friday, Oct. 28. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review: Sugarland by Martha Conway

If you're in the mood for a good historical fiction novel full of intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance, you've come to the right place. Today I'm hosting award-winning author Martha Conway as she tours with WOW! Women on Writing in support of her latest novel, Sugarland. Below is a synopsis of the book:

Follow in the steps of talented young pianist Eve Riser who is caught in a drive-by shooting that kills the bootlegger standing next to her, she forms an unlikely friendship with the bootlegger’s sister, Lena. Eve is looking for her missing stepsister, a popular night club singer who has been missing since the shoot-out, and Lena wants to find out who killed her brother. Together these two women navigate the back alleys and jazz clubs of the Roaring Twenties, encountering charismatic managers, handsome musicians, and a mysterious gangster called the Walnut who seems to be the key to it all. 

Hardcover: 314 pages (also available as paperback and e-book)
Publisher: Noontime Books (May 7, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0991618556
ISBN-13: 978-0991618552

Sugarland is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author: 
Martha Conway’s debut novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award while Thieving Forest won an Independent Publishers Book Award, the Laramie Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi ReviewThe Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications. She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review. The recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford University’s Online Writers’ Studio.

Martha Conway's website:
Martha Conway's blog:

My Review:

Historical fiction is not a genre I normally pick to read, but I do enjoy a good look back into a snapshot of history from time to time. Sugarland was an action-packed novel from the very first page and I quickly found myself turning the pages to see where the story would lead. Simply put, I would best describe it as being an engaging story first with snippets of a fascinating era in our history woven throughout.

I loved the strong female characters in the story—Eve, Chickie, and Lena, and how they each chose to navigate the hands they had been dealt in a male-dominated era. Lena was probably my favorite, with her generous nature, determination to find out who murdered her brother Rudy, and her willingness to help Eve and Chickie even though most people they passed on the street didn’t think white and black women should be speaking to one another.

You can tell Martha Conway spent a great deal of time on research for this novel, but it doesn’t overwhelm the reader. I have read historical fiction novels that spent so many pages describing all the items found in an antebellum kitchen that I found myself bored and losing interest. Sugarland does the opposite of that. The unlikely friendship between Lena and Eve makes for a great storyline, as does the music and the backdrop of the Chicago jazz clubs. Never before have I heard music described in such a way as this:

The music became furious. Lena leaned forward. The sax asked a question, the piano answered, but apparently not to the sax’s liking because it asked the same question again. The two battled it out.

The main characters found themselves in many perilous situations that left me gnawing on my fingernails and wondering how they would get themselves out of danger safely. The only issue I had with the book (besides an ending that I did not see coming!) was that I found it hard at first to keep track of all the club owners, musicians, and bootleggers, as most of them were intertwined with one another in some way. Once I clarified who Nathan Cobb, The Walnut, Travis, Moaner, and Pin were, it was a little easier to figure out who was double crossing whom. I highly recommend Sugarland to anyone looking for a good historical fiction mystery with strong female characters and an appreciation for the healing power of music.

Want to win your own copy of Sugarland? Visit this link to read an interview with Martha and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at WOW! Women on Writing.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review: My Name is Wonder: A Tale of Adventure by Ronald Chapman

Today I'm excited to feature Ronald Chapman back on my blog in support of his tour for My Name is Wonder: A Tale of Adventure through WOW! Blog Tours.  Here's a little more about this very unique book:

 My Name is Wonder is a tale of adventure that will have you thinking from the first page until well after you’ve closed the book. This beautifully written novel chronicles the transcendent adventures of a little goat with big dreams. Join Wonder and his wisecracking guide, the mysterious crow Mac Craack, on a journey through the scenic landscapes of the American Southwest and into the heart of a mindful presence. Along the way, you’ll meet an unforgettable cast of creatures, each with an important lesson to teach.


“…a book for the ages, with profound truths simply stated. First there was Jonathan Livingston Seagull and then Yoda—Now there isWonder…” -Beverly Molander, Minister and Radio Host of Activating the Power of Yes

 “…an exploration of human nature and into the allegorical realm that shows us how to be wise teachers and guides…” -Paula Renaye, Author of Living the Life You Love 

Paperback: 202 Pages Genre: Fiction/Spirituality
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (September 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938288785 ISBN-13: 978-1938288784

 My Name is Wonder is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author: 
 Ronald Chapman is owner of an international speaking and consulting company, Magnetic North LLC. In addition to international accreditation as a speaker and national awards for radio commentary, he is the author of two novels, My Name is Wonder (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016) and A Killer's Grace (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016 and 2012), two works of non-fiction, Seeing True: Ninety Contemplations in Ninety Days (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2008) and What a Wonderful World: Seeing Through New Eyes (Page Free Publishing, 2004) and the producer of three audio sets, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2016, 2005), Breathing, Releasing and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2015), and Seeing True – The Way of Success in Leadership (Magnetic North Audio, 2005). Ron provides a wide array of social media content at, content for people in substance abuse recovery at, and other content from his master site, He holds a Masters in Social Welfare from The University at Albany (New York.) Prior to his relocation to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, he was a long-time resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Ronald can also be found online at: 

Facebook Page: 

Michelle DelPonte was gracious enough to review the book and share a thoughtful review with us below. Thank you, Michelle!

 “My name is Wonder, but I am not that.” My Name is Wonder: A Tale of Adventure is full of life lessons that we seem to forget in our everyday busy lives. This book is one that will truly get you to evaluate your life. Does your name define you? Do you live life by the box that others put you in? While Wonder the goat is full of curiosity, he never lets others’ expectations of him, hold him back. Wonder lives life on his terms.

Wonder takes every opportunity to learn from others. He has two prominent teachers throughout the book, Mac Crack and Oren. Like any great teacher, Oren teaches Wonder by letting him figure things out on his own. So many times in our lives we fail to listen to ourselves or trust our gut. Sadly, it is often to our own detriment that we fail. Perhaps our inner knowledge is one of greatest gifts we were blessed with, but we fail to understand it.

We tend to look at our positions in life, set goals, make plans, and reach for the stars. However, what happens when life slams those doors shut? Are we able to turn around and make lemonade form the lemons? Wonder’s plan to see the world was rendered impossible. Yet in times that most would give up, Wonder chose to see the positive. He chose to reevaluate his life and make the best of the situation. He didn’t ever take no for an answer. Wonder never let what was expected of him get in the way of what he wanted out of life. He was always in the driver’s seat of his life, despite all expectations.

Wonder also decided that if he was present in a situation, that he truly needed to be present. Wonder needed to soak up every bit of knowledge and experience that life had to offer. Wonder made his own way, despite all the odds. I think more often than not, we get caught up in work, marriage, and life, that we fail to see the wonder. We are present in situations, but yet not really present at all. When is the last time you made a point of seeing all the wonder life has to offer?

About today’s guest reviewer:
Michelle DelPonte is a busy mom and health care worker. Her two sons are the focus of her life and she works diligently to raise awareness about autism in the community. She loves reading, anything to do with history and geocaching just to name a few of her many hobbies. Michelle, her husband Ben and their two sons Sebastian and Asher live in Manitowoc, WI on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan where they enjoy walking and biking on the Mariner’s Trail and spending time at the Library.